The U.S. has placed sanctions on Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The sanctions were placed in part because Zarif “implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s supreme leader.”
Despite lowering the federal interest rate by a quarter-point, Fed Chair Jerome Powell was berated by President Trump on Twitter for not doing more.
“[Trump] would have a more difficult time defending himself from charges of bigotry if they were leveled by Republicans… But, with painfully few exceptions, Republicans have adopted a ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ policy…”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill which seeks to limit Russia’s control and influence in Europe by sanctioning Russia’s Nord Stream 2 project. The bill now moves to the Senate to be voted on.
U.S. intel says that Osama bin Laden’s son and potential leader of al-Qaeda, Hazma bin Laden, is dead. In February the State Dept. offered up to $1M for information regarding the location of Hazma bin Laden.
“Even the smallest doubt about the integrity of the vote count would be magnified exponentially in our highly polarized era. Do Trump and McConnell really want to bear sole responsibility for the damage to our democracy?”
The U.S. and China are set to begin new trade talks in September. It is not clear how the future talks will progress given the collapse in trade negotiations the two sides had earlier this year.
The Taliban is signaling optimism in its peace talks with the U.S. Taliban negotiators are now saying that they believe an agreement can be reached in their next round of talks beginning this week.
“Today, more than 90% of both Republicans and Democrats describe people in their own party as “honest,” “reasonable” and “caring.” Meanwhile more than 80% in each party describe the other side as “brainwashed” and “hateful.”
GOP Rep. Mike Conaway announced that he will not seek reelection in 2020. He is the fifth Republican to announce their retirement from Congress in the last two weeks.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R) announced that he will not seek another term in Congress. Bishop is the fourth Republican in the last two weeks that has announced their retirement from Congress.
An insider attack by an Afghan soldier killed two U.S. service members. 14 American troops have now been killed in Afghanistan in 2019. Peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban continue in Qatar.
“Ratcliffe has no qualifications in the intelligence field, but he does have a history of slavish loyalty to Trump — as he demonstrated by berating and maligning special counsel Robert S. Mueller III…”
Facing weeks of protests against Beijing’s overreaching in Hong Kong, China now says that the West is behind their Hong Kong headache. In the statement blaming the West, China also failed to mention any specific individuals or countries.
Trump’s pick to be the next Director of National Intelligence, Rep. John Ratcliffe, has little relevant experience to take the role as DNI. To Trump, however, Ratcliffe possesses the most important quality, loyalty to Trump.
Baltimore is now the latest Trump Twitter target. Trump’s divisive weekend tweets attacking Baltimore and Rep. Cummings were curiously posted after a Fox News program criticized the city and the Congressman.
Security concerns over Confucius Institutes have led several US universities to close their chapters. The Institute is seen as a base of operations for China to conduct espionage and keep tabs on Chinese students at US universities.
Alexei Navalny, one of Putin’s biggest critics, was arrested last week in Moscow. After his arrest, he was taken to the hospital for a “severe allergic reaction”. His doctor says it looked like he was poisoned with a “toxic agent.”
Up to 20,000 people took to the streets of Moscow protesting government and the removal of opposition candidates from an upcoming election. Nearly 1,400 were arrested during the demonstrations.
Thought that cryptocurrency saved you from the IRS? Think again. The IRS is now going after cryptocurrency users over back taxes.
After much negotiation, Guatemala has agreed to the “safe third country” agreement. The agreement would require migrants that pass through Guatemala to apply for asylum while in Guatemala and not at the U.S. border.
Trump’s pandering to North Korea secured nothing but a photo op for himself and greater visibility for Kim Jong Un. Unsurprisingly, analysts believe that since the Singapore Summit, North Korea has produced at least 12 nuclear weapons.
The House Judiciary Committee is seeking the secret grand jury evidence gathered by Robert Mueller. This move is seen by some as a precursor to the House building a case for President Trump to be impeached.
Russia’s foreign propaganda network, RT, was fined by Britain’s media regulator for violating broadcasting impartiality rules. The violations in question come from RT’s coverage of the Skripal poisoning, Ukraine, and Syria.
Iran has been awfully busy lately. Last week they seized a British oil tanker and this week they tested a medium-range ballistic missile.
The DOJ approved a massive merger between T-Mobile and Sprint worth $26B. The company will be called T-Mobile and it will be the third largest U.S. wireless carrier.
Putin and his cronies continue to disqualify and harass opposition candidates running for Moscow’s city council. Protests against the government over its anti-democratic action continue to grow.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had his cellphone hacked. This hack was part of a larger operation that targeted several members of his government. The stolen information has not yet been released publicly.
The Senate Intelligence Committee released its report of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The report, which comes out one day after Robert Mueller’s testimony, also makes several policy recommendations.
Trump sides with the Saudi Arabia… again. President Trump vetoed three congressional resolutions which would have blocked arms deals to Saudi Arabia. Concern has been rising over Saudi use of the weapons in its conflict with Yemen.
Ukraine seized a Russian tanker that was involved in last year’s incident which saw Russia take 24 Ukrainian sailors hostage. Russia has now promised a “harsh response” for the seizure.
It is unclear if GOP Senators take election security seriously as they blocked two election security bills mere hours after Mueller warned that the Russians are trying to interfere “as we sit here.”
“The ‘failure’ is not [Mueller’s] but instead, of a country that won’t read his report and a media obsessed with scoring contests rather than focusing on the damning facts at issue.”
On the same day that China released a statement saying that it would not rule out using force to reunify the mainland with Taiwan, the U.S. Navy sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation late last night. A federal corruption investigation, leaked messages, and scandal have rocked Rosselló’s administration and led to his resignation.
AG Barr is directing the DOJ to resume executions for federal death row inmates. Federal executions are rare; only three have occurred since 1988, with the latest occurring in 2003.
Russian state media was very content with the Mueller hearings yesterday. One pundit was very pleased when she said, “We’re officially laughing at their allegations of election interference.”
North Korea launched two short range missiles, prompting concern among U.S. and South Korean officials. This is the first launch of North Korean missiles since President Trump entered North Korea less than a month ago.
During his testimony, Robert Mueller reminded all Americans of the threat that Russia poses to our elections. He said, “It wasn’t a single attempt. They’re [interfering] as we sit here.”